Health and diet studies suggest “saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.”
As a result, food manufacturers are adjusting to the general public’s attraction to the low fat craze toward a healthier living style. Food manufacturers are developing low fat or fat free cookies, salad dressings, and even healthier natural ice cream. When the truth is FAT provides an important aspect of food’s flavor, so manufacturers are replacing the tasty fat in everyone’s favorite foods with sugar. This improves the taste of food and keeps consumers craving more. Unfortunately, research shows that high amounts of sugar gets stored as fat in the human body. Research also shows that high amounts of sugar increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease by increasing inflammation and triglyceride count within the body. Scientific reports are reaching mainstream media that fat might not be as bad as we thought. Educated consumers are trading in their margarine for butter and their lean turkey breast for bacon. It has been a cultural sigh of relief to have our beloved tasty fats back.
BUT just like everything in health and prevention, it’s all about establishing balance.
Yes, decreasing saturated fat in your diet is still important; however, it’s what foods you replace it with that makes all the difference. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats especially omega 3 fatty acids does appear to have a beneficial effect on low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL has a strong risk factor for heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, black cod, and rainbow trout. Other foods high in omega 3 include chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts. Fortified foods like milk, eggs and orange juice are also high in omega 3.
The bottom line: there is no substitute for a healthy diet low in saturated fat and sugars.
A diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables leads to a healthier lifestyle. Eating a more natural diet with fewer processed foods is an ideal way to get all of the heart healthy nutrients you need. It is important to remember that diet is not the only risk factor for heart disease. Obesity, genetics, sedentary lifestyles, and high blood pressure may also increase risk.